“Men are pigs. Too bad we own everything.”—Tim Allen
I was recently visiting with one of the coordinators for a gaming conference who had asked if I would like to speak at an upcoming event. I assured the coordinator that I was more than happy to speak with the added note that I did not participate in all-male panels. The coordinator understood and mentioned that I always made this point when we discussed my participation. Out of curiosity, I asked how many other men had made the same commitment. I was told I was the only one.
I find it fascinating that so many men in the gaming industry work to perpetuate a system of male superiority. It would be fun if G2E were to have a panel of male executives explaining why their daughters, wives and mothers should be given fewer opportunities than their male counterparts. They could help us understand why they run their firms to give more opportunities to men and pay them disproportionally better than women. Possibly they could even inform us why they thought their daughters, wives and mothers deserved less and explore why they considered them inferior.
What is unfortunate about this situation is that there is no net tendency inherent in this system to change—and that is why it has been so successful at resisting change for so many years. Moreover, the ancien régime has mastered the ability to talk about the issue without addressing the reality of the issue. Be it the firms, the conferences, the lobbying entities, or whomever, they have all mastered the bullshit of acting as if they care without actually affecting change. They have turned this into an art form.
Should anyone need an example of this nonsense, after hearing some firm discuss its commitment to diversity and inclusion, log on to their website and look at the pictures of the board members and executives. You will quickly note that a picture speaks a thousand words, and their words are empty rhetoric.
During a portion of my lifetime, black people were not allowed in the casinos located on the Las Vegas Strip. That was another situation where the leadership of the gaming industry was absolutely fine with a discriminatory situation and did basically nothing to change it. This did change, but it was not due to any internal force. It changed because a mayor, a governor, the NAACP, a Nevada Gaming Control Board chairman, and a few others worked to end the discrimination. It was not the leadership of the gaming industry that drove this change.
I would argue that all of you men who are presently doing absolutely nothing to help right the wrong of gender discrimination in the gaming industry—beyond maybe occasionally talking about it—would have fit in well with the leadership overseeing the gaming industry when blacks were not allowed in Las Vegas casinos. My guess is that many of you would have followed along then as you are doing now. It seems to be a tendency of men who feel they are superior.
It was the 19th Amendment, passed in 1920, that gave women the right to vote. There was a great deal of resistance to this effort because, well, men thought they were better than women. Based on the data, it still appears to be the case in the gaming space that men believe themselves superior to women.
The people who gave us the world of blacks not being allowed in the Las Vegas Strip casinos were essentially foolish people who thought of themselves as above it all. For them to prevail, a whole bunch of people had to do nothing.
So too it is with misogyny in today’s industry. It is driven by some misguided people who think of themselves as superior beings. For them to prevail, a whole bunch of people have to continue to do nothing.
To the men of the gaming industry: It is time to stop doing nothing.